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Comic Book Pressing


Comic book pressing is the process of flattening out a comic book that has been wrinkled or damaged. Comics can get bent during shipping or have creaselines from heavy reading. Good news: Comic Books can be pressed using a t-shirt heatpress machine, a book press, a stack of short boxes, or anything heavy and flat. The idea is simple: to smooth out the waves and bumps on the cover of a comic book. This makes the overall grade and eye appeal of the book increase considerably. Comic book pressing is not restoration, more like comic book conservation. The difference can sometimes mean thousands of dollars when discussing high dollar key comic books. Do NOT press a comic book with an iron.



The first question you should ask is: Does this book need to be pressed? Signs the book would benefit from a press or dry cleaning:

  • Non-breaking color creases
  • Light bends on front cover or back cover
  • Bunched spine
  • Spine roll
  • Folded comics
  • Wrinkled front and back covers
  • Production line spine bends
  • Preparation for a comic book convention for a signing
  • Using a third party presser prior to using a grading service for a signature series yellow label
  • Dirt, oils, light staining



Dry cleaning and heat-pressing comic books improves the overall look and feel of a book. It is not divine intervention. Things pressing will not fix:

  • Miswraps
  • Staining
  • Foxing
  • Rust
  • Ink, ballpoint pen, crayon, marker, Sharpie pen
  • Missing pages, pieces, tears
  • Staple placement
  • Rounded corners
  • Edgewear
  • Deep indentations that travel through then entire book on every page
  • Food, tape, gum, boogers - do not press books until you have removed or scraped off debris
  • Crease lines with missing ink (color breaks)
  • Spine ticks (white lines at breaks on spine)



While reading this site, take special attention to this section. This guide is here to prevent damage to your books and other people's comic books as well. The guide is also here to make sure you press books in a way that do not show signs of pressing. If you have to press a book again a second or third time, it's a better option than to ruin a book forever. Multiple pressings are safe if done correctly. Grading companies will actually make you take a hit or more if there are evident signs of pressing. I've been requested to list briefly what can be done to avoid each concern. This is what to avoid at all costs:

  1. BURNING A BOOK Use less heat - keep it under 160 F, less duration. Set a timer on your phone.
  2. FUZZY INKS Ballpoint pen and sharpie ink will appear fuzzy or blurry. Use minimal moisture if possible. Use a lower temperature for ballpoint pen marks on cover.
  3. COVER IS FUZZY OR BLURRY Too much moisture and humidity (over 14-18 hours). Less time in the humidity chamber (Under 8-10 hours).
  4. FLARING Causes wavy pages and wavy cover. Removing book too soon from press or too much pressure (or both). Place a backer board at centerfold to protect the rigidness and flatness of pages.
  5. STAPLES ARE CRUSHED OR SUCKED IN Use less pressure with pressure adjustment knob. Do not use 110 cardstock under covers. Place a backer board at centerfold to protect staples.
  6. SPINE IS CRUSHED OR FLAT Use less pressure with pressure adjustment knob. Place a backer board at centerfold to protect staples and spine.
  7. WARPING AND WRINKLES ON COVER Re-using SRP paper. Throw away SRP paper after 1 use. Temperature is set way to high or there is a malfunction with thermostat on unit. Place a backer board at centerfold to protect the rigidness and flatness of pages.
  8. DIVOTS OR CRATERS ON COVER (pebbling) Use SRP paper and magazine sized backer boards above and below the book as a disposable sterile barrier from dirt and dust debris. Wipe each book front to back with a fragrance free, lotion free kleenex. If you use steel plates be sure to sand and wipe the plates clean before use. Using a can of compressed air helps as well. If you blow with your mouth you can get saliva bubbles on book.
  9. VERTICAL LINE traveling along spine on covers or interior pages. Too much pressure, backer board/cardstock/copypaper is not placed right up against spine as close as possible. Cardstock paper used is too thick. Try using 65 lb instead.
  10. UNDERHANG (cover can shrink but rest of book measures out). Too much heat. Using too thick of cardstock under front and back cover also can cause cover to shrink.
  11. STAINING (water stains, moisture stains) . Use distilled water only. No tap water or bottled water. The minerals can and will stain your books.
  12. SPINE ROLLS Books are stacked improperly over a long period of time or production error.
  13. SPINE SPLITS on an otherwise near mint book. Production error, or using a backer board under covers with too much pressure.
  14. STARCHED COMIC BOOK All pages stuck together. Entire book is starched and stuck together. Modern glossy page books require a much lower temperature setting, such as 145 or 150 degrees. Try lifting each page one at a time.
  15. ADVERTISING COVER Ads from inside cover inks can be seen through the cover from page inks underneath. Too much moisture followed by too much pressure and heat. IE., "overdoing it".
  16. STAPLE PUSH Staple prong pin holes or color rub on cover. Too much pressure when pressing, or improper inspection should have notated the staple prongs need to be pushed down using a plastic putty knife or similar tool. Most common with glued squarebound books such as Silver Surfer 4 or Giant Size X-Men 1.
  17. DIGITAL CODE SQUARES Marvel and DC Digital Code Insert imprints of 1" square on last 8 pages of book, including back cover. Improper preparation for pressing a book with a digital code. The pressure of the press imprints the digital code into each page before and after the code. You must use cardstock paper or copy paper to cushion each page before and after. (Up to 4 pages before and after to back cover).
  18. SCRATCHES Back cover is scratched. Make sure you slide a book with board inside a bag. Do not slide a book inside a pre-assembled bag and board.
  19. RUST (Iron Oxide) or Mold on cover. Rust can form on the steel plate of press when pressing damp books from humidity chamber because moisture seeps through SRP paper if not using a buffer such as a backer board. You must also change out all paperstock and SRP paper after 10 minutes and re-press as normal before leaving overnight.
  20. WASHED OUT COLORS Faded colors on cover. Too much humidity. Less time in the humidity chamber. Using too much pressure with erasers can also cause color rub faded colors on cover.
  21. COCKLING Wrinkles on cover. Using too much steam from a clothes steamer. Re-using SRP paper and cardstock or copy paper. Always use SRP paper once and done. You will imprint wrinkles from used SRP paper right into the next book you press.
  22. SPINE DENTS Spine ticks. If you spot new spine dents that weren't there before pressing, the book was incorrectly handled prior to pressing or afterwards. Make sure when you flip a book to use 2 assembled bags and boards to create a rigid surface for flipping and transporting a book.
  23. FINGERPRINTS If you spot new fingerprints that weren't there before pressing, the book was incorrectly handled prior to pressing or afterwards. Make sure when you press a book you always wear cotton or latex gloves. Use lotion free kleenex tissue and wipe in circles.
  24. COVER LIFTING CURL and/or wavy. If your front or rear cover starts curling or looks wavy after pressing, you may have let the book cool down too fast or it was heated up too fast. Try leaving the press off until you have the book inside press machine and clamped down in the closed position. Then turn press machine on and let it heat up slowly and cool down slowly. Humidity may be needed to repair this book's paper fiber memory. While rare, another reason could be an outer corner crease fold with creaseline and a middle tear along bottom or top edge. This can cause the cover to curl as well.
  25. FUSION of some pages stuck together. Book has been pressed at too hot of temperature. Modern age glossy modern comic books with glossy interior pages and cover cannot handle extreme heat temperatures. Try pressing the book at 150 or 155. To repair this, be sure to carefully unstick each page one at a time. Or, you can try slightly bending the comic book vertically down the middle. You should hear the pages unstick. Otherwise, the pages have fused to one another and this book may be ruined with color loss and ink rub when separated.
  26. INSIDE COLOR RUB If your inside covers appear to have missing inks or color rub, scrapes, or light spots - the cover fused to a sheet of inkjet copy paper or cardstock paper. Always use inkjet paper and not laserjet copy paper. The laserjet paper will stick and pull inks. Otherwise, the book was pressed too hot and is permanently damaged. Press at 150 degrees or 155 degrees next time for glossy interior pages and covers on modern age comic books. Modern age comics cannot handle temperatures past 160-165 typically.
  27. CANVASING Fine tiny square gridlike patterns across surface of book cover. This is caused by using too much pressure and/or re-using teflon paper sheets. I recommend disposable $0.02 cent sheets of SRP paper from ULINE to eliminate canvasing, pebbling, and pitting.
  28. TAPE PULL Exactly as it sounds. A piece of tape lifted colors from book cover. Keep tape away from bags and comics as you work. This is permanent damage to comic book!


If your book has a spine roll to it, you should consider spine realignment as well. Adjusting the spine of a comic book can be risky. Other damage may occur from staple movement, spine splits, loose pieces becoming detached, or spine chipping if the book is brittle.

New Marvel Comics modern age comic books have digital code inserts in the last 4th page of every interior book. Some books also have Tattooz inserts or other items, such as Image #0 coupons and Mark Jeweler's Inserts. These books require a different and careful approach so the digital code does not press or imprint a 1" square onto the back cover and adjoining interior pages.

Color breaking creases on covers. Loose or missing staples. Loose or missing pieces or pages. Staple indentations. Moisture stains. Color or ink breaking spine ticks. Scratches. Scratches on black covers. Books folded in half. Ballpoint pen ink. Marker ink. Date stamps. Library stamps. Deep indentions along front spine. Blunted corners. I am not a miracle worker. Please consider these conditions prior to submitting a book for pressing.

No. Pressing is a non-invasive method of restoring the original flatness of a book as if it were just printed. Heat and steam are used sometimes to restore spine placement, and helps move creases and fold flaps back to original placement. No chemicals or inks or paints or any similar methods are used on any books. Grading labels will not state "restored" on the label once a book has been pressed.

Dry pressing and dry cleaning your book does not use any chemicals or moisture. Only pencil marks and crayon is safely removed from dry cleaning. The heatpress machine and the temperature does not lift sharpie marker or ballpoint pen. Signed or witnessed signature series books are completely safe from ink being lifted during pressing. Paint markers used on signatures cannot be pressed or graded.

Cleaning and looking over the book during inspection can take over a few hours. Cleaning alone can take 30 mintues or several hours depending on what is being cleaned and how cleaning should be approached. Once your book is actually being pressed, it takes 5-7 min under high heat and an additional 24 hours or more to cool down using a singular heat/cold exchange method of pressing by allowing the book to completely cool back down while still pressed. The process itself can take 25-30 hours total per book. Some books require pressing to be left over several days and nights while still inside the comic book press. Spine roll realignments can take an additional 2 hours or more, depending on severity of spine condition.

damage risk and pre-screening
Pressing a book does have inherent risks. The spine can split. Centerfolds can become loose from a top or bottom staple (or both). Cleaning can rub off surface gloss or ink. If a book is brittle there is risk of chipping and pieces coming loose or removed completely. Spine splits can become worse during a press. You must understand these risks and make an informed decision before chosing to have a book pressed. In most cases, the risk is minimal. These risks are mostly associated with Golden Age and Silver Age comic books. Pre-screening is important because sometimes a book is best left in its present condition if the benefits do not outweigh the risks due to value or rarity of book. Send me photos of your books to kaptainmyke@gmail.com if you have any questions.


There is a dedicated collective and very active Facebook Group with over 800 members called "KaptainMyke Comic Book Pressing" for anyone to join and contribute ideas open for discussion. Ask questions about this guide or show off your own books! Anyone is welcome to join. I firmly believe the spread of accurate free information will help us all keep books preserved and conserved. You may find the Facebook Group at this link here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kaptainmykecomicpressing





collectibles insurance coverage
Your books are fully protected and insured up to $100,000 under the Consignment Agreement subsection of Collectibles Insurance Agency Services LLC which covers the following: storage of books during services provided, limited transit protection from storage to carrier services, and limited carrier protection under USPS, FEDEX, and UPS shipping, this protection covers you in the event of theft, loss, or damage to your book while having cleaning and pressing services performed on your books. This coverage does NOT protect your books in the event of damage caused by the actual pressing or cleaning services to your book. There is always an inherit risk to pressing a book, due to popped staples, unforeseen spine splits, brittle pages, or otherwise unknown variables to the pre-existing condition of your books. In the event your book is damaged due to pressing or cleaning, your book will be 100% replaced according to the listed raw grade given on invoice prior to services performed. For verification of coverage on policy #UD0002842, please contact: Collectibles Insurance Agency Services LLC P.O. Box 1146 Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 Phone: 336.550.4813 Fax: 410.876.9233 www.CollectInsure.com


The author is also an authorized and licensed CGC Dealer. Have peace and mind the advice given on this website will help you achieve the absolute highest grades possible with CGC. CGC is the most trusted authority on third party grading of comic books since 2000.

CGC Authorized Dealer 






Check out the KaptainMyke Comic Book Pressing Group on Facebook:

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1953 E.C. Publications SHOCK SUSPENSTORIES #12
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